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Students from the Shanghai Customs College stand at a viewing platform overlooking the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China.

(bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration’s efforts to craft international trade rules to deal with China’s economic policies may not modify the country’s behavior, according to the U.S. representative to the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. has been working with Japan and the European Union to develop a common understanding of rules that deal with intellectual property, subsidies and other non-economic policies China engages in.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Dennis Shea, speaking Friday in Washington, said the U.S. is committed to that work but cast doubt that China would ultimately bend to those demands.

“We’re committed to the trilateral process. We’re working, hopefully we’ll develop a common understanding of what new rules would look like and then branch out from there,” Shea, who is stationed in Geneva, said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

“Yes, we’re probably a little more skeptical about the viability of rules that actually significantly modify Chinese behavior, but that does not mean we should not pursue this approach,” he said.

Shea said once there’s common agreement among the trilateral partners, then they will reach out to other countries.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Foster in Washington at sfoster94@bloomberg.net;Jenny Leonard in Washington at jleonard67@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Murray at brmurray@bloomberg.net, Scott Lanman

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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